Despite the persistent below-average temperatures, Taco and I shipped out to a jumping lesson yesterday. It is the best day we've had in a while: it hadn't rained in a few days and it was a balmy 36 degrees (average is 51!). We met Amy at the nearby farm of another student of hers, since the jump field at home is rather mushy. Thank you Pam for letting us come use your beautiful, well-drained arena!
Anyway, shipping out required using my rig for the first time in a little while. I looked it over and all was well. I started the truck, which I had driven a few weeks prior, and matched up the hitch on the first try.
This would be a good time to introduce my rig. The truck and trailer are by no means new but they are safe and sturdy for Taco's traveling comfort. My truck, the Beast, a 1995 F250, was a public works/ highway painting truck in another life. When I got it there was an orange spinning light on the top, which I have since removed. I kept the backup beeper, though! The trailer, a 1989 Trail-Et New Yorker, had a previous distinguished career hauling S.S. Skipper, a wonderful Prelim and CCI* horse who competed in the 1990s and who just celebrated his 27th birthday. They are connected by a hefty weight-distribution hitch with sway bar. It is a good rig, even if it is not shiny and new.
My truck has been quite reliable, but yesterday there was a brief moment of great dismay when, after I happily dropped the coupler onto the Beast's hitch ball, the Beast's engine sputtered off. However, after a conference with Amy over the phone (she was already on her way to our lesson), I waited several minutes and then managed to get the Beast started again. Ice in the fuel line, we were thinking.
But the important thing is that Taco and I made it to the lesson! We shared it with Megan and her mare Go With the Flo (not to be confused with Amy's mare Go With the Flo). Megan is hoping to move her Flo up to Training this year, so we are well-matched to take a jumping lesson together. We also share the same need to practice increasing adjustability in the canter, so we can learn a lot from watching each other. Amy had us practice a five-stride line quite a few times. We would have practiced it only a couple of times, except that both of us were letting our horses get strung out after the jump in and had to repeat it a few times to get the concept. Finally we both managed to produce five similar, balanced strides in between. Then Amy told us to do it in six! And I did it! I do feel that I am getting better at maintaining energy and uphill balance. Taco is grateful that I am getting a clue, I am sure. He was wonderful, as he always is.
Then we finished up with a couple of short courses, continuing to practice an uphill canter all the way around. Not bad at all. We'll need to do this again before long... four weeks until Full Gallop!
5 hours ago